Monday, August 29, 2016

Three flavors of multifamily solar at Grow Community

Condos, apartments, townhomes - three flavors of multifamily construction, each with its own challenges for reaping the power, and financial benefits, of solar investment.

PHC/Asani development & construction company is tackling all three at once at Grow Community.

On buildings dubbed the Salal, the Juniper and the Elan, now complete in the project's expansive second phase, solar arrays will benefit both homebuyers and renters alike.

One roof apiece, with many beneficiaries beneath.

"Our investors said, 'let's go for it,'" said Greg Lotakis, PHC/Asani president and Grow Community project manager. "Without their desire to be the largest solar community in Washington, and wanting to plant the solar flag in the ground, we wouldn't be doing this. Without their support, it wouldn't be possible."


The Salal condominiums, with 12 units spread over three stories, is effectively a "community solar" project on a rooftop. Solar was included in the purchase price - no option - and incentives from the State of Washington will be apportioned equally among condominium owners, with each owning a one-twelfth interest in the array.

PHC/Asani worked with state officials and the local utility provider to craft a program that satisfies the complicated provisions of Washington law.

The opening was a provision allowing common use of single roof for solar in multifamily buildings. PHC/Asani banked on prospective buyers seeing shared solar as a good investment as they bought their condo units, one that promised annual paybacks while lowering operational costs of their building through solar harvest.

Solar was designed into the Salal building. A single production meter monitors total system output, while 12 sub-meters track consumption in individual units for utility billing.

Buyers are rolling the cost of solar, about $15,000 per unit, into their mortgages to take advantage of low interest rates at the time of purchase.

"We wanted it very clean and divisible by all the owners," Lotakis said. "I think it would be pretty difficult for six, 10, 12 people to come together and agree upon how the system would work after the fact. This gave us a chance to just deliver it."

Lotakis expects the 44kW array to produce about $1,500 in incentives per unit annually - cumulatively much higher than the state's $5,000 cap on incentives for a single-family residence.
Next door at the 12-unit Juniper apartment building, the 44kW rooftop array is similar but the equation is different. Renters will enjoy the benefits of solar production through net-metering, but not the annual state solar rebate. That will go to the building's single owner, and will max out at the state's $5,000 cap.

The two-story Elan townhomes presented the most straightforward challenge. Individual 6-9kW solar packages are offered for each section of the common roof. No modules will cross the "virtual lot lines," making each system self-contained within the owner's patch of rooftop. Three systems have been installed so far.

Growing neighborhood solar
From project inception, PHC/Asani set out to build the most environmentally friendly development possible.

Relentless sourcing of renewable materials and low-impact fixtures, and close connection to the island's town center, have positioned Grow Community in the marketplace for healthy lifestyle-conscious buyers.

The project's first phase is noted for its shared pea-patch gardens and winding footpaths through close-set homes. The second and third phases are oriented around a woodland grove and open greenway.

The project has earned recognition in national magazines and won awards from local and national homebuilder associations. It is only the second planned community in North America to be certified under the One Planet Living standards.

Grow's first phase of 23 detached units sold out immediately, and every homeowner chose to add the solar package.


Asani has also showcased Made In Washington components to support the state's solar industry.
Modules at the Salal are by Itek Energy of Bellingham, while the Juniper and Elan arrays include APsystems microinverters manufactured and distributed by Blue Frog Solar of Poulsbo.

Using a mix of in-state and out-of-state components allows Asani to achieve different price points for buyers while optimizing local incentives where possible.

Lotakis cautions that Grow Community's multifamily solar program relies on particularities in Washington law. Multifamily programs elsewhere would face their own challenges, although he believes Grow offers a useful model for developers nationwide to consider.

With the Salal building only recently certified for occupancy, new residents have no comparative data on their energy savings. But the solar component was attractive, as it has been to buyers throughout the three-neighborhood, 142-home project due to be completed in late 2017.

"Solar was a factor," one new resident said, "along with a development that encourages a sense of community."

Between the federal tax credit and annual rebates from the state, Lotakis said, owners buying into the Salal condominiums could have their share of the common array paid off within five years.

"And because they've rolled the cost of solar into their mortgage, they don't really see it," he said. "Those production checks will be like a dividend."

Summer draws us to the Park

You can't say Grow without Community - and our next phase, the Park, puts an exclamation point on it! Our planned Community Center (to be constructed at the north end of the Park) is now under review by the city, and we're counting on input from the public as we move the project forward.

Watch for more news about the center and your chance to help us shape what is sure to be a great amenity.

 

Elsewhere in the Park, midsummer finds foundations for the Sage and Lilac buildings are complete, with framing to begin next week.

We expect framing for both structures to go up quickly, as we're "panelizing" the construction to reduce onsite waste. The Trillium multifamily building, which will anchor the south end of the grounds, is going through final designs and should be in for city review soon.

Meanwhile our second phase, the Grove, begins to wind down with ongoing move-ins and final wrap-up set for fall.

Grow recently "went live" on the Multiple Listing Service through Windermere, and demand is hot! Several homes went under contract within hours, and a flurry of new inquiries rolled in from prospective buyers.

Join them! Stop by the Grow Community model unit today, and see the fine new homes are coming online by the week.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Grove at Grow Community is wrapping up, now on to the Park

Summer finds us buttoning up – that is, putting the finishing touches on Grow Community’s second neighborhood, the Grove.
 
Setting the pace is the Juniper at the north end of the grounds. New residents are now moving in, and the rooftop solar system is online and producing energy to offset the building’s needs. The largest planned solar community in Washington state keeps raising the bar!
 
The Tsuga now has its roof, with siding following in short order. Before July ends the building will look finished from the outside as work turns inward, with completion and move-in dates set for fall.
 
 

The Woodland Homes at the south end of the Grove are nearing completion and should be finished by August. All of our buyers to date are adding solar, and you could be next – one home remains available, with an expansive 400 sf. outdoor deck among its many fine features and appointments.
 
And if you’ve not visited the Grove lately, you’ve missed the generous plantings that give this neighborhood its name. Landscape touchup is slated for the end of summer as the swath of young trees and shrubs begin to settle in for the cooler months.
 
Attention now turns to our third and final neighborhood, the Park. Work has commenced on the Sage and Lilac, where foundations are underway and should be completed by the end of this month – framing to follow, and pre-sales to be announced soon as well.
 
Intrigued? Why wait! Comfortable and inviting units are still available for purchase throughout the Grove. Three-bedroom homes are available for move-in today, with more 2-bedroom units coming online this fall.
 
Rentals, too: 2- and 3-bedroom units in the Juniper are ready immediate move-in. Visit Grow Community and see our model home today!

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Eagle Harbor Market Building wins a NACIA award for its innovative use of copper


The Eagle Harbor Market Building in Bainbridge Island, Wash., won a NACIA award for its innovative use of copper. 

See full article here

Friday, May 13, 2016

PHC Awarded "Excellence in Concrete Construction” for the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art

The Washington Aggregates and Concrete Association has awarded PHC Construction with their 2016 Excellence in Concrete Construction award in the Architectural Concrete category for the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.  We are honored to be selected for this prestigious award.



Click here to learn about the impressive concrete work in this iconic building.



Thursday, May 12, 2016

Construction is apace and sales are brisk at Grow phase 2, the Grove!

We are excited to report that Salal building solar went live on April 29. It has been a long road to this point, but the building’s rooftop is now producing energy. And there’s more to come – the first round of Elan owners should be seeing solar installed later in May.


The Woodland homes at the south end of the Grove have taken shape, along with the Tsuga building, with completion expected from late June through August. Sales-wise, our rental building, the Juniper, is now fully reserved. The building should be completed with first move-ins by the end of this month.

Two units remain available in the owner-occupied Salal building – the current model home, and a three-bedroom unit. Inquire within!

Finally: Big news on our Community Center will be coming soon, and permits for our next phase the Park are now in hand. Our construction crews will continue their steady migration south to this final phase very soon.

Monday, April 25, 2016

First the foundation, soon the BARN

The Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network held an old-fashioned “barn raising” – a slab-pouring, anyway – and the community turned out to celebrate beneath sunny skies.

Visitors marveled at the massive concrete foundation for a 25,000-square-foot, 2-story facility due for completion in 2017.

The center will provide space for classes, workshops and open studios for fiber and glass artists, jewelry making, printing making and book arts, welding, woodworking and other crafts.

PHC is general contractor on this exciting project to provide a permanent home for the many fine craftspeople and artisans on Bainbridge Island.

Find out more about the BARN project at http://bainbridgebarn.org.







Photos by Douglas Crist